It's TV time again and it is about book adaptations for TV. I think I already spoke about Roots and The Thorn Birds in previous posts so I couldn't choose these 2 great miniseries. I had to put my Dunce...er, my thinking cap on and come up with 3 different ones that suit the theme. Head on over to Wandering Through The Shelves to see what everyone else has chosen...here are my 3.
1. RICH MAN, POOR MAN-1976 (BOOK WRITTEN BY IRWIN SHAW)
This was, to me, the first mini-series that took everyone by storm. I guess, nowadays, you say "Limited-Run" series but back in the day (because I am 99 years old), they were all called mini-series. This catapulted Nick Nolte into super hunk (yes, I said hunk) stardom and brought him to the big screen. Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte play brothers, one "good" and one, a bad boy (Nolte was the bad boy) who do not get along. While Strauss's character wants to get ahead and does make it to the big times, the other struggles and has issues. Of course, there is a girl that comes between them that is Strauss's wife but I think she had the hots for Nolte which creates a Cain and Abel thing going on. OK I am going from memory here and it has been decades since I saw it but it did impress me. Oh and the Late William Smith played a real evil dude who wants both brothers dead. It was juicy and I would like to see it again.
2. THE WINDS OF WAR-1983 (BOOK BY HERMAN WOUK)
I was so looking forward to this film which take place from 1938 to 1941 when the U.S. enters the war after Pearl Harbour but..meh...I called it The Winds of Boredom. You have some great stars in this film headed by Robert Mitchum as Victor "Pug" Henry a naval officer and his family who bear witness to some key events taking place in Europe. I recall the first 2 hour episode being quite good as the Ali MaGraw character is trying to escape the Nazi clutches but then it just goes into this whole soap opera style with someone loving someone and another loving someone...whatever. You can tell I am not enamoured with this miniseries. It did get a whole bunch of awards but I kept wondering...why??? Maybe I am wrong and should try and watch it. There was a sequel called "War and Remembrance" which I decided to forget to watch.
3. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST-1987-1990 (FAIRY TALE BY THE BROTHERS' GRIMM)
I love the Grimm Fairy Tales and even have the original versions of some of the classics (forget cute mice and twilling birds, let's have toes being cut off, eyes plucked out and red hot iron shoes placed onto the evil queen's feet). I have seen many films based on the Grimm Fairy Tales and loved "Grimm" which is a TV show I could have chosen (I shall save that for another day) but I decided to choose this corny but endearing TV show based on Beauty and The Beast. Linda Hamilton plays an assistant district attorney who is severely beaten up one night but is saved by a man who brings her down into the sewers of New York City where he nurses her back to health. She is initially startled by the man who saved her because he looked like a beast who loves to listen to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." They quickly form a mental and emotional bond and the beast can sense when she is in trouble. You get to see how they fall in love over time plus the beautiful underground "city" that is faithfully preserved by the Beast and a number of others who don't "fit into" society. The underground world is run by The Father played by Roy Dotrice who became my favourite character on the show. Rick Baker, a great make-up artist, not only devised the beast make up but told the powers that be they should hire Ron Perlman for the job. They became life long friends afterwards.
Now, just a funny from the likes of the great Dave Allen as Heathcliffe
Which 3 would you choose?
Let me be the first to wish you a happy 99th birthday, dear friend! :) I am here sittin' on the sofa with you, guzzling Schlitz Malt Liquor, and watching book adaptations on the boob tube.
I have absolutely devoured from cover to cover, 50 times or more, The Big Shiny Sparkly First Words Book, but I don't think anybody's had the vision to turn it into a TV mini series. (It's a page turner.)
I am ashamed to admit that I haven't watched any of these limited run series you posted, and the only ones I remember are Rich Man, Poor Man, Roots and Thorn Birds. In the cast of Rich Man, Poor Man, I see favorites of mine including Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely, Dotty McGuire, Ray Milland, Bill Bixby, Robt. Reed, Norman Fell, Murray Hamilton, Van Johnson and Ed Asner. I'm gonna have to watch this one!
As you indicated, Winds Of War also boasts a star studded cast. Me likey Ali MacGraw, Bob Mitchum, Houseman, Polly Bergen, Peter Graves and Ralph Bellamy.
I have always been enchanted by stories about misfits of society surviving life in the big city in their own secret underground domain. Therefore, I might give Beauty And the Beast a try.
Thanks for the morning entertainment, dear friend BB. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend!
Thank you for the birthday sentiments, my old bones appreciate it. I hope you get to see Rich Man because it shows Nick Nolte before he turned into a freaky homeless man. Beauty & The Beast is hokey but I loved their take on the underground lair of the misfits. I hope you are staying safe since I heard Covid has really taken a turn for the worse in Florida.Delete
I'm new to all three of your picks this week! I had no idea there was a Beauty and the Beast show. I'd watch that. lolReplyDelete
It was hokey but I enjoyed it. I would try Rich Man for sure.Delete
Cant' believe it Birgit I've seen all three of these adaptations, not that version of Withering Heights though. I. loved all of them, but we had Beauty and the Beast showing and then it just disappeared, I think it got to the end of the first series then didn't come back, so never got to see the beast as the handsome prince, Kate xReplyDelete
This Beauty & The Beast went AWOL when Linda Hamilton became pregnant and left the show to be with her family. Maybe it stopped before her final episode since the show went down after that. I am glad you saw all 3 :)Delete
Well, as soon as I saw the subject the name Richard Chamberlain popped into my head. So, I am going with that theme in a theme.ReplyDelete
Centennial, 1978; Shogun, 1980; The Thorn Birds, 1983; The Bourne Identity, 1988.
He was the king of the mini series. I have never seen Shogun which catapulted him into extra stardom from his Dr. Kildare days. I love The Thorn Birds which caused quite the hallabaloo with the catholic church. The book is quite good but I like the mini series better. The Bourne Identity is great and not many remember it because the films with Matt Damon eclipsed it.Delete
I've never seen any of these, but have heard of Beauty and the Beast, just not that specific one. I guess I have nothing that comes to mind, except Grimm, which I watched religiously until the very end.ReplyDelete
I laughed at the Heathcliff bit. As an aside, not sure if you saw my question about Unforgotten. I know you watched it last year, so wonder what you think of it this year.
I meant to write that I love Unforgotten and have been watching it this year and think it is great. The third season still haunts me to be honest. I am wondering how poor Cassie will get through her last 3 months. I am glad you are also a lover of Grimm. It is a great show.Delete
B & E & BB - Mrs. Shady and I are big fans of actress Nicola Walker. We loved her as Gillian in Last Tango and love her as Cassie in Unforgotten. Witchy woman Adalind Schade (Claire Coffee), the Hexenbiest on Grimm, will soon become a regular presenter at Shady's Place Music & Memories!Delete
Oooh can't wait to see what Adalind will introduce on your musical series.Delete
Hi Birgit - I love reading your choices and also your commenters ... so many films, tv programmes I could watch; I was in South Africa in the 1980s and missed a great many ... so at some stage - lots to catch up on.ReplyDelete
Re Molly - thanks for sending her over - re Victoria Falls Bridge and Africa etc ... hopefully she'll keep an eye open on my blog - she's give me her email, so I can keep in touch that way.
I'm glad She came over to you and you can keep in touch. The 80's was such the heyday for miniseries but pretty neat you lived in South Africa as did one of my friends when he was a teen.Delete
OHHHH I LOVED Rich Man, Poor Man and ate it up like candy on it's initial run! What an amazing cast they assembled for it and it did really did make stars of Peter Strauss, Susan Blakely and Nick Nolte, the first two in TV and Nolte in film of course. He's wreckage now but Nolte was quite the blonde surfer God in those years.ReplyDelete
I wasn't bowled over by The Winds of War either but liked it well enough to watch War and Remembrance which was actually an improvement. Part of that was the recasting of Ali MacGraw's role (I think she was unavailable) with Jane Seymour-a far better actress which made her storyline much more compelling.
I've seen some of the Beauty and the Beast series but found it rather meh so I wasn't a regular viewer.
The Thornbirds was my first thought as well but then I was struck by another inspiration! It’s a theme within the theme; all biographical adaptations starring Lee Remick, a huge favorite of mine. I'm sure you know she was a major film star in the 60’s (The Days of Wine and Roses, Anatomy of a Murder) moving between film (The Omen, The Europeans) and TV in the 70’s then focused almost exclusively on television in the 80’s becoming one of the queens of the miniseries genre until her 1991 death from cancer at only 55. She was Emmy nominated for this trio.
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974)-Seven-part miniseries adaptation of the Ralph G. Martin biography of the same name. Following the life of American heiress Jennie Jerome (Lee) from her first teenage meeting with British aristocrat Randolph Churchill, their often rocky marriage, her rise in political circles both as Randolph’s wife and later the strong influence she exerted over son Winston while living a colorful and complicated life of her own.
Haywire (1980)-Based on eldest daughter Brooke’s memoir this two-part miniseries details the complex, troubled and dysfunctional marriage and home life of stage and film star Margaret Sullavan (Lee) and super-agent Leland Hayward (Jason Robards Jr.) and their three children. Powerfully told but not a happy tale-between the couple they had 9 marriages (ironically Leland’s last wife (of 5) was the ex-wife of Winston Churchill’s son.) Margaret Sullavan and her two younger children died by their own hand. Henry Fonda was Maggie Sullavan’s first husband and the pair (and their children) remained close throughout her life-actress Bridget Fonda is named in memory of youngest daughter Bridget Hayward who was romantically involved with Peter Fonda at the time of her death.
Nutcracker: Money, Murder, Madness (1987)-Three-part miniseries adapted from Shana Alexander’s true crime book about Frances Schreuder (Lee), an amoral and rapacious New York socialite who manipulated and dominated her sons, ultimately pushing one into madness and the other to murder her own father, multi-millionaire industrialist Franklin Bradshaw, for financial gain.
How did I miss all the Lee Remick mini series?? I would love to watch all of these. Lady Churchill was known for her beauty plus her wit and intelligence. I have read Haywire but not seen the series. Margaret Sullivan was a difficult person, not to say Leland was a gem because he wasn't. I read her biography as well and it seems that Jimmy Stewart was one who could calm her down (he loved her from afar as you know). I would love the see the last one since I do like stories about true crime.Delete
The Thorn Birds was excellent and so was Rich Man which I do want to see again. Ali MaGraw was never a fav of mine so I can see Jane Seymour act her off the screen. Yeah, Beauty was drippy romance etc... but I enjoyed watching the first season and a half before it went wonky. I loved the whole underground system creating a wonderful and unrealistic place.
I remember my mom watching Rich Man, Poor Man and it being a really big deal, but I couldn't care less about it. After all, I was only 5. I think it aired a few more times over the following 5 to 10 years, but I still couldn't be bothered with it.ReplyDelete
I was older for Winds of War, but I don't remember hearing about that one. I did, however, occasionally watch Beauty and the Beast. It wasn't my cup of tea, but my best friend loved it.
Ahh, yea, you were too young for that one and, Winds of Boredom..meh. Beauty catered to the gals more I think.Delete
Beauty and the Beast, one of my mother's favorite shows. They remade it a few years ago. The remake was meh. I have heard of the other two, but I did not see them.ReplyDelete
When this topic popped up, I immediately thought of Netflix. Bridgerton. The Queen's Gambit. Both based on books. Both excellent. Oh man, the floodgates are now open in my head, and I'm remembering adaptations of Dirk Gently, the witch show I'm watching called Homeland, and A Discovery of Witches. I'd have to take some time to narrow this down to 3.
Narrow away! I have heard of your pics but have not seen them. Beauty was a fun watch but catered to the gals, I think.Delete
I could probably make this 33 or 333 just with Jane Austen and Charles Dickens adaptations!ReplyDelete
Yes, there are many adaptations of of their novels and I have not seen most of them to be honest.Delete
I remember the huge popularity of Beauty & The Beast, but I never watched it. We watched The Thorn Birds but not Rich Man Poor Man. X watched The Winds of War. I don't remember if he liked it. He had read the book, which he loved. Now, let me think about my choices. I could go with nothing but Jane Austen adaptations, but I'll try to be more creative. 1. The Long Song -- I watched this a few months ago on PBS and it made me want to read the book by Andrea Levy. It's about the dying days of slavery in Jamaica, as seen through the eyes of a slave named July. A number of years ago, I read This Small Island by Levy because I saw the series on PBS. 2. Lonesome Dove -- I finally got around to reading this book by Larry McMurtry a few years ago and it was so good I tracked down the mini-series, which I thought was great. So many good actors are in it: Robert Duvall, Diane Lane, Angelica Huston, Tommy Lee Jones, Rick Schroder. 3. Nurse starred Michael Learned and was only on one or two seasons (1981-82), but it's another example of a good show that led me to read the book of the same title by Peggy Andersen.ReplyDelete
These were pretty easy to come up with and I could name more!
Lonesome Dove was such a huge hit and considered one of the best. I have no idea why I didn't watch it because I love Westerns and the actors. I saw a couple of episodes of Nurse which was good but I didn't follow it. I had no idea it was a book before it was a series. I never heard of The Long Song. Sounds quite good.Delete
I too was a fan of Beauty and the Beast. Watched it faithfully.ReplyDelete
Thinking of you and wishing you a pain-free day.
It was hokey for sure but I enjoyed it until she left the series. I loved the whole underground romantic world that was created and wished it was truly like that.Delete
I don't remember the Beauty and the Beast, but those other 2 series were huge. Nice picks Birgit. There was also Roots, remember that one. I doing a bit of catch up and want to say thanks for visiting my blog. My reading list isn't opening right now, and I am missing some posts. Happy August.ReplyDelete
I'm not too into the know on this category. Mostly I think of PBS shows and I've seen a few excellent ones. Most notably coming to my mind are Les Miserables and Pride & Prejudice. But Roots was the first one that came into my mind.ReplyDelete
Tossing It Out